By: Colman Andrews
Source: 24/7 Wall St.

Because of the nature of the grocery business, independent operations are far outnumbered by units of major chains — whether they’re regional powerhouses, like H-E-B in Texas or Wegman’s in the Northeast, or national operations doing business under multiple brand names (for instance, Kroger or Albertsons). The chains have the buying power, the advertising and promotional resources, and the sheer scale to compete most efficiently in the field. (The median size of supermarkets in the U.S. is 41,561 square feet — almost an acre.)

It might surprise some to learn, however, that some of the biggest purveyors of food, whether packaged or fresh, aren’t supermarkets at all. Walmart leads the pack by far, with sales more than three times those of the highest ranked conventional grocery chain (Kroger). Costco and Target are major players in the food business, too, as are dollar stores and drugstore chains like CVS and Walgreens. These are the U.S. counties with the most pharmacies per capita.

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